The internet is now a crucial part of most people’s lives. Whether it’s for work or pleasure, we rely on the web more than ever before. This means having access to a good broadband connection is vital and is a key consideration when people choose to buy a home. Indeed, the web has become so important it is now seen as essential utility alongside, gas, electricity and water.
A 20 per cent difference
A modern British family is heavily reliant on the internet. Whether it’s allowing the parents to work from home and shop online or letting the kids do homework, play games and keep in touch with friends, a fast and reliable broadband connection is essential.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that house prices suffer if a good level of internet access can’t be guaranteed. Research from Rightmove has revealed slow broadband can knock as much as 20 per cent off a house price, which is a clear indication of just how important it has become.
The organisation found house hunters now see a good connection as more important than nearby transport links and schools. Bernard Phillips, Rightmove head of consumer platforms, stated: “Broadband has become ingrained in people’s lives and is an important factor when choosing a home.”
The fourth utility
Broadband’s increased importance in the property market has been further demonstrated by a Gocompare.com study. It found 54 per cent of house hunters see a fast connection as a must have when buying a new home.
This was ranked ahead of local shops and amenities (52 per cent), good mobile phone signal (32 per cent) and even friendly neighbours (48 per cent). As a result, Ben Wilson of Gocompare said broadband has now become the “fourth utility”.
Only central heating, double glazing, security, a garden and a shower were ranked as more important features of a home than a good level of internet access.
The issue of broadband is particularly poignant in rural areas where fast connections are often hard to come by. This means those properties that do enjoy reliable internet access are becoming increasingly in demand.
In late 2013, one estate agent told the Telegraph he was advising all of his clients to avoid rural properties with poor broadband. Frank Speir, director at Prime Purchase, stated: “Slow broadband speeds are having a definite effect on the market. It’s becoming a much bigger issue.
“We are talking about buyers moving out of London that want the flexibility to be able to work from home one day a week or need to run a business and they require a fast connection for that.”
“It’s not an issue about price, it’s simply that I have to advise clients against making a purchase,” he added.
The problem is worse for those people who already live and work in rural areas and it can seem they have no alternative but to move if they want to be better connected. Thankfully that need not be the case, as there are other options available, such as satellite internet, which is capable of bringing fast and reliable broadband to even the most remote locations.
Indeed, the technology has recently been highlighted by the government as an important part of a £10 million fund to improve connectivity in the UK’s hardest-to-reach areas.